Fire in ecosystem distribution and structure: western forests and scrublands
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
Author(s): Bruce M. Kilgore
Editor(s): Harold A. Mooney; Thomas M. Bonnicksen; Norman L. Christensen Jr.; James E. Lotan; William A. Reiners
Publication Year: 1981

Cataloging Information

  • Artemisia tridentata
  • arthropods
  • chaparral
  • community ecology
  • coniferous forests
  • Dendroctonus brevicomis
  • Dendroctonus ponderosae
  • distribution
  • European settlement
  • fire control
  • fire exclusion
  • fire frequency
  • fire intensity
  • fire regimes
  • insects
  • montane forests
  • pine forests
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • Populus tremuloides
  • presettlement fires
  • scrublands
  • Sequoia sempervirens
  • Sequoiadendron giganteum
  • succession
  • western forests
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: March 17, 2021
FRAMES Record Number: 19313
Tall Timbers Record Number: 1703
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.88:WO-26
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Fire plays an important role in determining structure of forests and scrublands throughout the West. Distribution and structure of vegetation depends upon topography, climatic regime, and fire regime. Six fire regimes are defined based on fire frequency and intensity, varying from frequent, low-intensity surface fires to very long return interval, stand replacement fires. In certain western forests and scrub- lands fire suppression for the past 50 to 100 years has led to longer intervals between fires, increases in surface and crown fuels, changes in forest structure, and sequential impacts on fire intensity, postfire age structure, species composition, fuel accumulation, and both horizontal and vertical pattern. Better understanding of fire regimes is basic to our management of western ecosystems.

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (2.2 MB; pdf)
Kilgore, Bruce M. 1981. Fire in ecosystem distribution and structure: western forests and scrublands. Pages 58-89. In: Mooney, Harold A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.; Christensen Jr., Norman L.; Lotan, James E.; Reiners, William A. (editors). Fire Regimes and Ecosystem Properties: Proceedings of the Conference. General Technical Report WO-GTR-26. Washington, D.C.: USDA Forest Service.